Georgetown Guyana, May 31st, 2012: In what can only be described as a bout of insanity or verbal diarrhea, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand advised teachers in Guyana that if they were not satisfied with their current salaries then they should leave. Speaking to educators in Berbice, the Minister rebuffed the calls for a raise in pay for the nation’s teachers and instead said to them “take it or leave it.”
The intransigence of the PPPC administration towards our nation’s educators, who bear the responsibility of preparing the next generation of leaders and workers, is almost criminal. Compared with the rest of the world, teachers pay in Guyana is laughable. An untrained teacher (and they make up the majority in the system) takes home after taxes $37,000 GD per month (US 170 approx); a trained teacher takes home $ 55,000 GD (US 275); and a degreed teacher $78,000(US 390). When one compares these starvation wages against the high cost of living in Guyana, then it is no wonder that our best and brightest teachers are educating the children of other nations. In the Bahamas where a large percentage of teachers are Guyanese, an untrained teacher makes $ 1,900 US ($380,000GD); a trained teacher takes home $ 2, 500 US ($ 500,000GD); and a degreed professional takes home $2,600 US ($520,000GD).
OneVoice calls on the government of Guyana to immediately address the problems facing education in Guyana and to give that sector the attention it deserves, including adequate funding for our institutions of higher learning. It is clear by Minister Manickchand’s insensitivity that she and the PPPC government are not interested in investing in human capital and would rather rule over a nation of sweepers and laborers, rather than scientists and inventors. It is clear that the PPPC sees an uneducated populace as part of its strategy for perpetual domination of Guyana’s politics.
Investment in human capital, life-long learning and quality education helps in the development of society. Teachers who are well trained and well paid are the most important factor for an innovative society, because teacher’s knowledge and skills, not only enhance the quality of education, but also improve the prerequisites of research and innovation. It is not lost on this publication that Math and Science teachers are a rare species in Guyana. It has become very apparent in recent years that all the technical and engineering jobs in Guyana are filled by expatriates.
Priya Manickchand has already shown by her inept and incompetent leadership of the Ministry of Human services that she lacks the empathy and ability to be a servant of the people. Ms. Manickchand’s sullied past includes the bungling of the Neesa Gopaul case. Manickchand’s Ministry was supposed to protect the weak and vulnerable but failed miserably to function and a child died. Priya Manikchand has the blood of Neesa Gopaul on her hands and now with her recent insensitive, careless and ignorant remarks, is condemning the children of Guyana to life sentences of poverty and misery. OneVoice News Network calls on all stakeholders in education to immediately intervene to halt this madness. We specifically call on Mr. Colin Bynoe, the Executive and members of the Guyana Teachers Union to act now in the best interest of our teachers and our children of Guyana.
OneVoice News would like to remind Minister Manickchand of the fact that education is the best way out of poverty and a sure path to economic wealth, social prosperity and reduced crime in society. We call on the people of Guyana to demand that the PPPC invest in education now! A well educated people have more opportunities, and are more likely to make better decisions, take better care of themselves and ultimately place a premium on the education of their own children.
Mancikchand and the PPPC must know that “this time nah lang time” and with the new dispensation in the legislature, the people demand the type of society where all will have access to equal opportunities. Manickchand must be reminded that the equal opportunity and quality education she benefited from as a student at Stella Marris 1981-1987 and at Queens College 1987-1992 [the free and quality education often disparaged by PPPC loyalists], must be afforded to every youth in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. “The people have no bread” Minister Manickchand! The unacceptable response, “let them eat cake” can start a revolution. The people will no longer accept flippant and uncaring responses from the privileged, PPPC, elite class. Change is here!